Laie native Manti Te‘o is “Big Easy” bound.
The former Chargers inside linebacker and captain has agreed on a two-year, free-agent contract with the New Orleans Saints. He signed with the team from his home in San Diego.
Te‘o’s father Brian first confirmed the news exclusively to KHON2 sports director Rob DeMello Monday afternoon.
Sources say the contract guarantees $600,000 and could reach up to $5 million. The deal is heavily incentive-based, tied into playing time and being on the active roster.
The Punahou and Notre Dame product was selected in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft following a senior season with the Fighting Irish that featured All-American honors and a runner-up finish for the Heisman Trophy.
In his time with the Chargers, Te‘o was the defensive play-caller since the end of his rookie season, starting 34 of 38 games, recording 221 tackles, 2 interceptions and 1.5 sacks.
In 2016, Te‘o suffered a torn Achilles tendon in week three against the Colts in Indianapolis and missed the remainder of the season.
He rehabbed in Southern California and will participate in the Saints’ training camp that’s tentatiely scheduled to start in late July, where he will compete for the inside linebacker position.
Te‘o will be joining two other Hawaii high school graduates, outside linebacker Hau‘oli Kikaha of Kahuku and center Max Unger of Hawaii Prep Academy, who are already with the team.